Fried rice always reminds me of my father. It's one of a handful of dishes he'd make when we were kids. He'd take over dinner duty if my mom was too sick or tired to cook. As I did with her almost every evening, when my dad was in the kitchen, I was there by his side, watching intently as he'd gather ingredients from the fridge and distribute them on the counter. I'd stand next to him as he'd heat up a giant wok and crisp up the rice in oil. Towards the end, frozen vegetables, typically peas and carrots, were added, followed by an egg, which was scrambled and then dispersed. There may have been some chicken put on top, but I just remember the fried rice. It remains one of my ultimate comfort foods.
This Thursday not only happens to be my birthday, but it's also the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, a holiday where family members celebrate all that the season has to offer by gathering for a big feast. If like me and a fan of Chinese food, I suggest you get your hands on Kian Lam Kho's gorgeous book, Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees: Essential Techniques of Authentic Chinese Cooking. If you don't know his blog, Red Cook, go check it out because it's a great resource for those looking to get into Chinese cooking. But, again, his book is absolutely stunning (I want to make every recipe), so definitely pick up a copy. The recipe featured here is very slightly adapted from his shrimp fried rice.
And now, for a big, awesome GIVEAWAY... I have not just one but TWO items to share with one lucky reader. The first is one (1) copy of Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees, which was graciously provided by its publisher Clarkson Potter. And to get you going with all your stir-frying, I'm also giving away one (1) 14-Inch Covered Wok in Advanced Bronze from Anolon!
To enter, leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite Chinese dish is. Only one entry per person. Eligible to US residents only (sorry international friends)! Giveaway ends at 12PM EST on Sunday, October 9, 2016. The winner will be notified via e-mail. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, another name will be drawn. (Note: Be sure to fill out the e-mail field in the comment form)
Seafood Fried Rice
Slightly adapted from Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees by Kian Lam Kho
Serves 2 as a main course, 4 as a side dish
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 lb medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/4 lb jumbo scallops, sliced into rounds
1/4 lb salmon, skin and bones removed, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 cups leftover cooked rice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 scallions, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
Heat a wok over high heat until a droplet of water sizzles and evaporates immediately upon contact. Swirl 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil around the bottom and sides of the wok to coat it evenly. Put the fresh shrimp in the wok and stir-fry until they turn slightly pink and are partially cooked, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl.
Swirl 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the scallops and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Add the salmon and cook for another 1 minute. Transfer to the bowl with the shrimp.
Swirl the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil evenly around the sides of the wok. Add the garlic and carrots. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add the leftover rice. Break up any lumps of rice and stir-fry for another 3 minutes. Return the seafood to the wok, along with the frozen peas, and add the salt and pepper. Continue to stir-fry for another minute.
Push the rice toward one side of the wok to expose about a quarter of the bottom surface. Pour the egg into the open space in the wok and scramble it slightly. Then push the rice over the egg and let the egg continue to cook. At this stage, you want to let the rice sit without stirring so that the bottom of the rice browns slightly. This should take about 1 minute. Then stir the rice around and once again let the rice on the bottom brown. Stir the rice once again and repeat this browning for a third time.
Turn the heat off, add the chopped scallions and cilantro to the rice, and mix well.